Multiple goals or deterrence: A test of two models in nuclear and nonnuclear alliances

Glenn Palmer, J. Sky David

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The functions of international alliances are investigated by testing two models of state behavior with data drawn from nuclear and nonnuclear alliances since 1860. A diversity-of-goals model is based on Morrow's assumption that states pursue two goals through their foreign policies: autonomy and security. The second is the Olson-Zeckhauser theory that alliances provide a collective good to their members. The diversity-of-goals model sees alliances as mechanisms for states to transfer desired foreign policy goals, so that different states join alliances for different reasons. Asymmetrical alliances are mutually preferred arrangements between or among states where different goals are traded and are more likely to work when punishment of defection is credibly threatened. Accordingly, the diversity-of-goals model should find support only in nonnuclear alliances. The Olson-Zeckhauser model should apply more to nuclear alliances. The statistical results support the hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)748-770
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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